Chapter 1: An Unexpected Reunion

The breeze was whispering in her ear as she looked up at the sky and used her hand to block the rays of the mid-day sun. Its voice wasn't any bit dramatic or loving as she had wished, but lonely, grief-stricken, and so, so sad.

"He's gone... he's never coming back..." It murmured, tormenting and haunting her in every way possible as she growled to herself. Though she didn't want to accept it, she knew for a fact that he was gone. Yet no matter how deeply rooted reality was ingrained in her heart, she always found herself looking towards the sky in the hope he'd come down and make it be known that he was okay. A hug, a quick hi, maybe even a smile in her direction, anything would have sufficed. Nonetheless, despite her quiet pleas, she knew that she would never be able to even hear his voice again.

It had been so long… since Sonic died.

Amy sighed as she looked down, feeling as if the weight of the world had been dropped on her shoulders. Although she knew that he had been dead for a total of two weeks, it never occurred to her how real his death truly was. She had grown so accustomed to Sonic defying all odds and saving the day that she simply couldn't comprehend the situation. Never returning with a bruise or a scar as a souvenir, he could mutilate Eggman's entire operations without even having to take a breath from exhaust. He was like the Superman of Mobius, invincible and unstoppable, always taking the win... except for that one time. That one stupid time.

He had died for her. For Sally. By saving her life, he had lost his own, and that in and of itself had shattered Amy's heart. The physical image of seeing him impaled was utterly horrifying all by itself, not to mention seeing him cry for the first time. But the fact that he had been willing to go so far to save someone was absolutely heart-breaking, because it just went to show that sometimes, your best wasn't good enough. And unfortunately, that had been the case for Sonic.

Slowly, Amy gazed at the world surrounding her, blinking a few times to readjust her vision. Although Station Square looked very nice at that moment, she wished something exciting would happen. Sure, it was lively in the park on that bright spring day, but it was nowhere near as adventurous as all the exciting action she was used to sharing with her friends. How long had it been since she had last seen Cream and Cheese? A month? Maybe even two?

Sighing yet again, Amy adjusted her headband. Cream was probably off with Tails again, and all of her other friends were probably busy or out of reach. Growling, the girl began to blame her loneliness and sadness on the fact that she was a teenager, as melodramatic as it sounded. Didn't hormones just make everything seem suckier, anyways?

Amy Rose was fourteen years old, a full-grown teen, and no longer a simple child who was unable to defend herself. Over the years, her skills with her Piko Piko Hammer had improved exponentially, almost by so much that she never had the slightest problem with fighting off creeps. She had grown several inches over the years, now taller than all of her gal pals, and her hair had grown out to the point where it barely passed her shoulders.

In addition, after several weeks of thoughtful reflection almost a full year ago, the girl had decided to no longer wear her red dress and matching headband, but rather sport a cheerful ensemble of pink and yellow. The headband she chose was a casual shade of canary yellow, and her V-neck mini dress a pink that was just a shade darker than she was. She wore tight yellow shorts along with it (which made running easier and MUCH less embarrassing) and a pair of bright pink converse sneakers that almost reached her knees. Amy Rose had changed so much over the years... and yet it seemed as if nothing about her really had.

It felt like only yesterday that she had been chasing her hero. She could remember the rush of the wind and the sun's heat beating down on her like it was trying to keep her away, as if it was doing everything it could to stop her from catching him. How did he do it? How did he defy all the elements and never stop running? It was something beyond confusion that brought the exhaustion that led to her to stop running that day. And indeed, that had been the last time she had seen him before...

No, she thought, don't think about it. You'll just end up crying. But it had almost been too late, for her emerald eyes had started sparkling with tears the moment her mind started to wander off.

Why did he have to go like that? Why did he have to leave before she could tell him how much she cared for him? Why did it always have to end like this? She always had to suffer through heartache and pain when it came to Sonic. It just wasn't fair... but oh, she would have done anything to see him again. She would give up her entire being, her whole soul, just to see him one more time. Walking over to the park bench she had been sitting on and getting off of constantly, Amy sat down once more, pulled her knees up to her chest, and began to cry quietly. It just wasn't fair...

Suddenly, without a single word of warning, Amy felt a rush of wind flash past her.

Her heart skipped a beat as she threw her head up head, shock filling her body at the same time. What was that? Had it been...? No, it just couldn't be, she had to be imagining it. There was no possible way that he could still be alive, much less there in Station Square. It wasn't possible, it simply wasn't even probable! For goodness sakes, Sonic had died! Despite the voice in her head that was screaming at her to not do so, Amy couldn't help herself from hoping.

Jumping off the bench, the girl began to look around fervently and search for any sign of him. She couldn't have just imagined that rush of wind, could she? She couldn't have just hallucinated something like that, right? Just as she was about to throw in the towel and call it quits, Amy saw him. It was a small glimpse, granted, for she barely spotted him out of the corner of her eye, but it was enough to get her heart pumping. With a curiosity that lit up like the sun rising from a cold and bitter night, Amy went after him.

Running as fast as possible, she dashed off in the direction she thought she saw him go. She ran, ran, ran, hoping to see his smile, hear his voice, anything to prove to her that he wasn't gone. That she wasn't crazy. Panting, she pushed her legs faster and faster, looking ahead in a frantic hope that he was still there. But no, she had already lost any sight of him, if he had actually been there in the first place. Had she really been hallucinating? Had it been a day-dream? No, it couldn't have been. There was no way that—

Moving at full speed and not looking in the direction she was going, Amy had no time to come to a complete halt before she crashed into someone. "OOF!" Amy squealed, taking the other person down with her in the process. "AGH!"

There was a split second of pain when she collided with the sidewalk, just a flare of ache that ended as soon as if had started, but it was enough to make Amy stay down as the embarrassment seeped in. "Great. I just mauled a random person over. Nice..." She growled as she sat up. "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to—" She stopped the moment her eyes settled upon him.

Sitting on the sidewalk and rubbing his head was none other than Sonic the Hedgehog himself, his blue color serving as a siren of joy to the pink hedgehog, his emerald green eyes shimmering in the daylight. Disbelief began to set in as he moaned, "Ow... man, you know how to make a guy hurt, huh?" He stood up, brushed himself off, and reached his hand out to her. "Need help?"

Her mouth hung wide open in shock. He... he was alive! Despite all impossibilities, Sonic the Hedgehog was alive! It was more than astonishment that filled her soul; it was pure euphoria and wonder. She didn't care of how he had survived or that he had avoided death yet again, for all that mattered was that he was alive and there.

"Uh... Pinkie? Are you just gonna sit there, or are you gonna—Gah!" Sonic stopped mid-sentence, choked by the death grip grasp that suddenly wrapped around his neck.

"Oh my gosh, I can't believe it! You're alive!" Amy exclaimed, not daring to loosen her grip for even a second. "Oh, Sonic... I spent all this time thinking you were dead, but here you are!" She exclaimed, leaving an expression of pure confusion on his face. "You survived the accident! This is amazing! I just can't—"

Before she could form another syllable on her tongue, Sonic pushed her away, trying his best not shove her too hard or appear rude. "I appreciate the, um, concern and everything miss, but… who are you?"

A wave of awe filling her, Amy's heart skipped a beat. "What?"

"How do I put this?" Sonic asked himself as he looked at the ground, scratching his head in the process. "You... um… I don't actually know you. Have we ever met before? Because it's a little odd to go up to some random person and hug them, if you catch my drift."

Amy's eyes grew wide. "Sonic... it's me! Amy Rose."

Sonic glanced up as he pondered upon the name, folding his arms as he whispered to himself. "Amy... Amy... nope. Sorry, doesn't ring a bell."

"But Sonic..." She was speechless.

"Sorry, Pinkie, but you must have mistaken me for someone else." He shrugged, turning around as he sighed. "I'd love to help you find the guy you're looking for, but I gotta go. See ya later!"

It wasn't true. He had to be messing with her. He... she... he would never forget someone like her, whether he wanted to or not. No matter what had happened in the past, even if he didn't want to see her, Sonic never pulled something like this... and boy, did it make her made. Even worse than that, it made her furious. Without even bothering to stop and question herself, Amy growled and pulled out her Piko Piko Hammer.

"YOU BIG JERK!" With one powerful swing, her hammer came down on Sonic's head, "HOW DARE YOU JOKE ABOUT THIS? YOU DISAPPEAR FOR WEEKS, EVERYONE THINKS YOU'RE DEAD, AND THEN YOU COME BACK EXPECTING ME TO TAKE A JOKE LIKE FORGETTING ME?" She smacked him again, "YOU HAVE TO BE THE DUMBEST, MOST SELFISH, AND THE WORST—" but before she could land a third hit, his hand caught her hammer causing her to freeze in place. Sonic never caught her hammer when she hit him. That could only mean that—

She saw his gaze. It was ice cold, and yet burning with hatred at the same time. "What the heck was that about?" With one strong yank, he pulled the hammer out of her grasp and threw it onto the sidewalk. "What kind of a person comes up to some random guy who doesn't even know them and starts bashing their skull in? What justification can you possibly have for something like that?"

Growling, Amy balled her hands into her fists, refusing to back down. "You're acting as if you don't know who I am, Sonic the Hedgehog! I bet you anything that you're going to go act as if you've forgotten me, but you still somehow manage to remember that goody-goody brat, Sally!" As soon as she had realized what she had said, the moment her words sunk in and caused Sonic's expression to contort itself with rage, Amy wished she could have taken it back.

"Excuse me," Sonic asked, his wrath bubbling far too close to the surface for safety. "What did you just call her?"

Ignoring the voice in the back of her head, Amy poked him in the chest, "You heard me. That goody-goody brat, Sa—"

With an iron grip, Sonic grabbed onto Amy's wrist. The glare he sent her was the very definition of malevolence, and as he glowered at her, she could feel his anger resonating off him. "Don't you EVER say that about her again." He threatened, his voice icy and sharp.

"Or what, you'll go on about how amazing she is?"

Before she could even comprehend what had happened, Amy found herself on the ground. She looked up in horror to see Sonic standing over her, "If I have to, I will make you shut up!" he shouted, pointing a finger towards her before he placed his hands on his head as if he had been plagued with a terrible headache, "I already almost lost her once, and I'm NOT going to lose her again." He looked down at her with a scowl that could have put the devil himself to shame. "And I won't let anyone get in the way of that." And he was gone.

She sat there for a long time, panting in shock. What… what had happened? Tears began to fill her eyes. Great, she thought as she picked up her hammer, I always knew that would happen. But still, why did it have to hurt so much? Ignoring the gazes of those in the street who had watched her and the hero's short-lived argument, Amy stood up and dashed off in the opposite direction that Sonic had headed. Only one place could calm her at the moment.

The smell of the place led her there, but when she entered the garden, she still couldn't get that glare out of her head. It had been so unbelievably cold, and his words had been so cross. Yes, that had most definitely been Sonic she had talked to, but how could he have forgotten her? How could he do something like that? Shortly after dashing into the garden, Amy located her favorite spot, fell to the ground, and scanned the expanse of the garden of flowers.

She had visited the place often as of late, during the moments when she had been at her lowest. Surrounded by trees and open sky, it was her one safe haven where, no matter what, she could be happy. It was her sanctuary. Despite this, however, the quiet breeze and colorful flowers did nothing to calm her mood. Though it was more fear than sadness that filled her as she reflected upon what had happened, the girl simply couldn't deal with the negative emotions. She just wanted the echoes and images to go away.

Sighing, Amy looked down at the patch of flowers in front of her, tears dripping down her cheeks. Out of the bunch of roses that stood before her, a single pink blossom that shared her same shade of fur bloomed at half strength, a hint weaker than its family, and only slightly less magnificent as the rest. A rose that reminded her of herself…

Perhaps, as silly as it sounded, that was why she loved the rose garden so much. Over time, Amy had begun to see herself in the flowers, notice her own image in the roses that budded, bloomed, wilted, and died. Eventually, the garden had begun to feel like a second home to her, where she could simply sit and think about whatever was going on in her life without any distractions. For when she was there, Amy felt safe, and she felt at peace. Sure, the thorns hurt whenever she was dumb enough to absent-mindedly grab the flowers, but after doing it so many times, Amy had grown accustomed to it. And besides all that, her shoes were long enough that they blocked most of the pricking from the flowers, so the thorns rarely actually provided to be a problem.

Yet even so, Amy felt alone. She had known from the beginning that her hero would choose another over her, someone more sophisticated and mature, so to speak, than her, but it still hurt all the same. "Time heals all wounds, right?" She whispered to herself. Yes, the saying had truth to it, but she wished that someone was there to hold her and tell her it was going to be alright, however cheesy it sounded. Maybe even just be there for the company, almost anyone would have sufficed.

"And what do we have here? A hedgehog in a flower field? What a lucky find!" Anyone except for him. Wincing, Amy looked up above her to see, sure enough, riding in his personal Egg-craft, Dr. Eggman.

"Eggman..." She sighed, carefully wiping her tears away as she scowled at the good doctor. "Figures. I was having a bad enough day as it was."

"Oh really?" He asked, grinning evilly, "Would you like me to help with that?"

"Seriously, I could go for anyone's help right about—" Her instincts kicked in just in time to avoid a missile that had been launched from his machine. "Gah! Too close!"

"You did say you'd take anyone's help, correct?" He questioned, his tone wicked and wild. "Well you know what they say! If you want a bad day to end," He began, pressing a button, "Then end it altogether!" and sending a host of missiles after her.

Amy shrieked, rapidly performing a series of jumps and skips to dodge the projectiles, many of them ending up much more graceful than others. "Ha! Nice try! I'm lot better than that Dr. Fattie!" She exclaimed, taking out her Piko Piko Hammer again and throwing it at him, which smacked him promptly in the face and caused him to release a loud cry of pain, thus fueling a large and toothy grin on Amy's face. Despite years of easily losing to Eggman, she was actually doing pretty well! Training over the years had helped immensely, and not to mention, Eggman was also getting old. Well, older.

Distracted with her brief victory, her thoughts were interrupted by the crashing of heavy metal into solid ground. Turning to face the source of the sound, Amy's eyes grew wide. Eggman's personal carrier had somehow transformed itself into a colossal robot; one that she was sure could easily crush her.

"I was just going to mess with you, girl, but I was reminded—thanks to you—of how annoyed I am of hedgehogs right now. So instead, I think I'm going to make sure you won't even be able to pick up that hammer when I'm done with you!" And instead of another missile being sent her way, a giant iron fist suddenly lunged towards her, causing a scream to slip past her lips as she leapt off to the side.

Great job Amy, She thought as she ran towards the entrance of the garden, that's the second man you've made angry today. Only this guy might actually kill you! Frantically reaching her hand out to the tree closest to her, only to feel a full set of five metallic fingers wrap around her body tightly. Before she could even attempt to open her mouth and scream, it threw her back so hard that she skidded across the ground for several seconds, screeching as the thorns dug into her skin.

"Now Amy," Eggman boomed shortly after the girl had come to a halt, the dense iron foot landing about two feet away from her as she looked up, her vision instantly over-taken by the hulking bot. "I don't mean to be rude, but I think it'd be better if you just disappeared!" With a press of the button, the spring loaded fist flew forward. The girl screamed in response and shielded herself in a useless attempt to save herself from impending doom.

Before the metal could connect with her body, however, the whooshing of the wind suddenly filled her ears as she found herself lifted from the ground. Her first thought was that Sonic had reluctantly saved her, but within second, her senses proved her wrong and filled her with shock unrivaled from anything else that she had felt the entire day.

"Eggman, Eggman, Eggman… how shameless of you. To attack a lady as pretty as Amy Rose. Well, I guess I'll just have to put you in your place for such barbaric behavior." Amy opened her eyes, and the first thing she saw were two ruby red irises. Black and red color and a muzzle of tan skin also filled her vision, with pure white fur obscuring her sight and causing her mouth to fall open in a wide gap. Wha… what? Her rescuer wore a smile that spoke not of arrogance, but confidence.

It was none other than Shadow the Hedgehog.